Several people have wondered what I think about the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and the short answer is, “I don’t know.” I’ll certainly pray for her and her family, for the leadership infrastructure of the Episcopal Church, and for new health for the Anglican Communion as a whole.
But I haven’t seen any reliable sample of her theological reasoning, and at this time we need sound, deep theological reasoning more than just about any other characteristic.
I hear reports that she has a lovely, gracious, attentive, focused personality. She has a pilot’s license and flies her own airplane. To state the obvious, she’s a woman, and there is good in U. S. Episcopalians not assuming that a Presiding Bishop must be male.
At the same time, if she can’t back up her winsome character traits with weighty theological reasoning, all the positives won’t add up to enough to preserve even marginally cooperative relations with the Anglican Communion outside the U.S., nor to bolster the theological integrity of the Episcopal Church. For a variety of cultural reasons, the Episcopal Church in the U.S. can’t quite believe that anyone can (or should) take theological truth seriously, and tends to settle for lo-cal substitutes (convention conflict as “Less Filling!” vs. “Tastes Great!”); the vital (and I mean that word emphatically) importance of theology for the church remains in inconvenient truth. I hope I’ll learn that Bishop Jefferts Schori can handle that aspect of her new calling.